Nov 27, 2018

Mars InSight lander marks crucial mission milestone

The Instrument Deployment Camera, located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this picture of the Martian surface on Nov. 26. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars InSight lander, which touched down on the red planet on Monday, has successfully deployed its solar panels and transmitted its first image from the spacecraft's Instrument Deployment Camera, located on the lander's robotic arm.

Why it matters: For InSight to complete its mission of drilling deep into the interior of Mars, it needs energy to charge its batteries. The lander's mission could provide new insights into how Mars formed and evolved, which could shed light on Earth's history too.

  • InSight's two solar arrays are each 7 feet wide and capture enough of Mars' weak sunlight to keep the lander charged. "Even when dust covers the panels — what is likely to be a common occurrence on Mars — they should be able to provide at least 200 to 300 watts," NASA said in a press release.

What's next: During the next few days, scientists will use the spacecraft's robotic arm and attached camera to take pictures of the surface near the lander itself. This will help the team decide where to deploy the scientific instruments.

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Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.